It is not uncommon to hear people blame the excess weight they are gaining on a slow metabolism, because even after cutting calories and performing regular exercise they don’t lose weight. For my first post I would like to clarify myths and truths about the effect of weight metabolism, including if it’s possible to accelerate it and how to lose weight effectively.
The Harris-Benedict formula
Metabolism is a term that describes all the chemical processes that occur regularly in the body and allow the proper functioning of all the organs. Among the processes we are talking about are breath, renewal of cells, food digestion and muscle activity. Carrying out these processes requires an energy input that comes from the food we consume.
The minimum amount of energy which is necessary to carry out the metabolic activity is called BMR – basic metabolism rate. Compared to the base rate there’s the overall rate, which is the recommended amount of total energy consumption for us every day. Both of these values are measured in calories.
The basic metabolism rate ranges from 40% to 70% of the total energy consumption of the body, depending on the age, sex and lifestyle. The lower the percentage is, the slower the basic metabolism rate (BMR).
There are many calculators that calculate the mandatory minimum energy consumption (BMR) and the total energy consumption required for the body daily, but only those based on the Harris-Benedict formula are considered to be relatively accurate. You can find one by visiting the medical school of Cornell University.
Harris-Benedict formula takes into account sex (male or female), height, weight, age, comorbidities or physical conditions that is not right and the amount of daily activities (active or sedentary activity).
Applying the formula (Once you have entered your personal data) provides two numerical values - the minimum amount of calories that is essential for maintaining the body (BMR) and overall calories recommended for us.
For example, a man who is 50 years old, height 170, weighs 160lbs (72 kg), has no comorbidities and works at a desk job will receive a BMR value of 1568 calories per day and a general amount of 1882 calories.
In contrast, when the same person works while involved in physical activity he will receive the values of 1568 (not variable) and 1980 calories. Thus it is clear, a person with the same characteristics who is less active and still consumes the same amount and composition of food, will gain weight eventually.
The key takeaway I’d like to highlight with this post is that what’s currently recommended today as the average caloric intake (approximately 2,500 calories per day for men and 2,000 calories for women) is absolutely not accurate and only assisting the Harris-Benedict formula will yield accurate personal values that can serve those who want to maintain weight or reduce it.